You are quite correct, continentalclub, about the train leasing companies. But all the media reports talk, rightly or wrongly, about Virgin acquiring the trains when, as you suggest, it should be the leasing firm instead.
But the cost was more than twice as high than the amount you mentioned. I believe each Pendolino train set cost roughly £21 to £23 million pounds and Virgin required 53 sets so that gives a total of over £1 billion. In addition, Virgin operates a fleet of 21 Super Voyager diesel trains so that must also have cost a pretty penny.
It’s also unclear how much Virgin pays the leasing company or how much it pays Network Rail for access. But the sums involved must be significant.
As for open access operators I never did claim that Chiltern and London Midland fell into this category. I wrote that these firms “are not considered as open access operators.”